As announced yesterday by your Colorado House Republican minority press office:
Today, House Reps. Dan Nordberg and Jared Wright announced their plans to introduce legislation during the 2014 legislative session to create a tax deduction for Coloradans to offset the federal tax penalty for not purchasing health insurance as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
The Healthcare Liberty Act will provide a state tax deduction for Coloradans, in an amount equal to the federal tax penalty, levied against them for failing to purchase health insurance as mandated by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“Millions of Americans are learning they will not be able to keep their health insurance under Obamacare even though the President promised they could,” said Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs). “Congress has failed to act and the President has declined to lead, it is time the state legislature step up and help our constituents deal with the surging costs of Obamacare.”
“Many Colorado families are relying on us as their elected representatives to try to mitigate the adverse impacts of Obamacare. I hope my friends across the aisle will work with us in a bi-partisan manner to provide some relief to the thousands of Colorado families who have been negatively impacted by this law,” said Wright (R-Fruita). “Our bill is an appropriate response to the tax penalty and will help people in Colorado who simply cannot afford this expensive new government health insurance mandate.”
What this legislation would target is the $95 per person penalty that some Americans will pay in 2014 if they don't have health insurance. High income earners who lack insurance may pay a little more, and these penalties are set to increase over the next few years to a maximum of $695 per adult or 2.5% of income (whichever is greater). The penalty for dependent children is half the amount charged adults. There is an additional limit on the tax penalty for failing to purchase health insurance, set at the annual cost of the least expensive plan available from the taxpayer's state's health insurance exchange. Also, if the most affordable available health insurance option amounts to more than 8% of your income, you're exempt from any penalty. The individual mandate is one of the most basic functions of the Affordable Care Act, and it's important that everyone knows how it works.
For many months now, and especially since the troubled rollout of the insurance marketplaces give them fresh ammunition, Republicans at every level have been busily preparing legislative attacks on the Affordable Care Act. You're going to see legislation like this in just about every state house in America next year. We haven't heard if this specific legislation is pre-written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), but it wouldn't surprise us in the least if it were. In some states, legislation to directly undermine the Affordable Care Act of this kind will most likely become law next year–much like the "proud" refusal by many conservative state governments to join the ACA's expansion of Medicaid coverage for the poor.
But in Colorado next month, this spiteful little bill goes directly to the "kill committee." As politically expedient as Republicans may find a stillborn grandstand against "Obamacare," it's also quite risky as the outlook for the insurance marketplaces slowly improves. With the narrative of the insurance exchanges belatedly but inevitably turning positive, this could be a "solution" that debuts after the problem is already solved.
And then, Republicans just look like jerks–who want the health care reform that the voting public still thinks is necessary, and still would rather see repaired than repealed, to fail.